Planting Guide

This guide will walk you through receiving trees, deciding on a suitable planting site, and protecting them to ensure they have the best possible chance at survival.

Receiving Trees


Containerized Trees

As soon as your trees arrive there are a few important things you need to do. Unbox your trees as soon as they arrive, do not let them stay in their packaging for an extended period of time. Trees should be planted as soon as possible after delivery.

If planting at their final site isn't possible right away, planting them in a container is the next best thing. A 1-3 gallon container is big enough to house them for their whole first growing season if you choose to plant in a container. Regular potting soil, or garden soil mix does great as a potting medium. Avoid products labelled as seed starting mix, peat moss, and any mixes with lots of added fertilizer.

If growing in a container you must ensure proper drainage. If your container doesn't already have drain holes, drill 5-6 holes in the bottom roughly 1/2in in diameter.


Bare Root Trees

Bare root trees need to be kept cool and moist. Upon receiving check their roots for moisture. If needed add a small amount of water to moisten their roots and wrap them up again in their packaging. Do not submerge the roots in water. This will kill your tree. You want them moist not wet. Try to plant as soon as possible. Planting within 5 days of receiving is best however they can usually be kept longer as long as they remain cool and moist. Best areas for storage are a garage or cellar.

Bare root trees can also be heeled in outdoors if you need to store them for longer than a few days before planting. Simply dig a trench and fill it with loose soil. Place your trees in the hole and cover roots with soil. Additionally some growers choose to heel their trees in in piles of composting pine bark mulch, peat moss, etc. any loose organic matter that will keep your tree's roots moist should do. Trees can be easily removed and replanted later.

Site Selection

The best sites for planting mast trees are areas that get good sunlight (at least 50% sun). Individual trees have different requirements so some may be better suited to certain areas than others. Check the product page for each tree to see where they are suited for. Factors to consider are soil pH, drainage, and necessary spacing.

Chestnuts

Light: Prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Look for areas with at least 50% sun per day

pH: Chestnuts prefer acidic soil, 4.5-6.5 pH is optimum

Soil Type: Chestnuts do well in a variety of soils, even marginal ones. Their main requirement is that the area be well drained. Stay away from areas that stay wet often.

Spacing: 25-35ft

Sawtooth Oaks

Light: Prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Look for areas with at least 50% sun per day

pH: Chestnuts prefer soil that is slightly acidic to neutral, 5.5-7.0 pH is optimum

Soil Type: Sawtooth oaks do well in a variety of soils, even marginal ones. Stay away from areas that stay wet often.

Spacing: 25-30ft

Planting

General Planting Guidelines


Dig a hole roughly twice as big in diameter as the root ball of the tree, but no deeper than the root ball is tall. Sprinkle approximately 1 tablespoon of mycorrhizae inoculant into the hole. Put the tree in the hole and fill in with dirt being sure to lightly pack the soil around the tree to hold it in place. Be sure that the base of the tree is not planted deeper than the surface, it is better to have the base slightly above the surface than below the surface. When planting be sure not to cover the bark at the base of the tree with dirt.


Mulching with pine bark chips, pine needles, or straw in a 2-3 foot circle around the base of the tree will benefit your trees by helping to retain moisture and prevent competition from weeds. A fabric or plastic weed barrier laid around the base of the tree can also serve the same purpose, just be sure to make plenty of holes in it so water can drain through. Using a weed barrier as well as mulch is the best option for keeping competition away from your trees and retaining soil moisture.


The most important step to planting your trees is to water them thoroughly immediately upon planting. Be sure the ground around them is soaked well, this ensures the trees have proper moisture and helps their roots get in better contact with the soil.


You will need to ensure that trees stay well watered for their first growing season. Water as needed based on your soil type and drainage. A good trick to cut down on watering trips is to place a 5 gal bucket beside the tree. drill as small a hole as possible in the bottom of the bucket near the edge closest to the tree. You only want a slow drip. Fill the bucket with water and it can slowly water your trees for days. One of the best ways to retain moisture is by using a plastic tree tube on your trees, read about them below.


Tree Tubes


To keep your trees from being eaten by deer, or rabbits we recommend the use of plastic tree tubes or wire cages. These protective structures are placed around the trees to protect them from being eaten. We recommend using grow tubes or cages that are at least 48 inches tall. We sell grow tubes that are 54 inches tall and provide great protection for your trees. These tubes not only protect your trees they also greatly increase growth rates. Growth rates are often doubled during the first few years when using a grow tubes as compared to trees grown with just a cage. Tree tubes provide a greenhouse effect for the tree growing inside increasing moisture, humidity, temperature, and protecting them from browsing, harmful UV light, and chemical spray if you choose to spray herbicide near your trees. Water retention is greatly increased as the trees, and the soil immediately around them, are protected from the wind and direct sunlight. This greatly reduces the amount of water lost through your trees leaves and the soil. They are a great way to protect your trees and give them a boost to help them grow faster and healthier and we recommend using them on every tree you plant.

Order tree tubes here.


Mycorrhizae

You've heard of inoculating plants like beans, peas, and clover, but did you know that you should be inoculating your trees too?


That's right, trees have beneficial microbes that live on their roots just like other plants do. These microbes are called mycorrhizae. They grow in and on tree root systems and help them take up nutrients and water from the soil more effectively. Mycorrhizae increase root growth and root mass significantly which leads to healthier, more drought resistant, and faster growing plants. Many studies have shown the benefits of mycorrhizae for all kinds of plants including trees and we have seen it first hand in trees planted here on our farm. We don't plant any trees on our farm without mycorrhizae because of the difference it makes in drought tolerance, growth rate, and overall health of the tree.

The mycorrhizae we sell is a strain known as Rhizophagus intraradices and is a beneficial soil fungus that forms a sponge-like mass on root systems helping them take up and store water and nutrients more effectively. It essentially increases the surface area of the root system. This mycorrhizae comes in the form of dry pellets that just need to be sprinkled in the hole just before planting your tree. It’s an easy step that makes a huge difference in the success of your trees. Just sprinkle approximately one tablespoon into the hole just before planting your tree, then plant your tree as normal and the microbes will do the rest.

If you are ordering trees you can choose to have mycorrhizae included with them. Just select “Add mycorrhizae” from the dropdown menu we will include enough inoculant in your order to treat all your trees with. 



Hydretain Moisture Retention

The #1 factor affecting your tree's survival is providing them with adequate moisture. Young trees need a season or two to develop a large root system that can sustain them through dry periods. Until then supplemental watering is needed to ensure their survival. You can cut down on watering by up to 50%  by using Hydretain moisture retention granules!  It effectively reduces the overall watering requirements of plants, shrubs, trees, turf, and agriculture by 50% or more! Hydretain ES Plus is a proprietary blend of the patented Hydretain® soil moisture-management technology enhanced with an advanced, naturally derived soil surfactant. In combination, these synergistic technologies provide unequaled water conservation and drought stress reduction through soil moisture management. In addition to reducing overall water requirements, Hydretain ES Plus works to provide the proper soil moisture needed to maximize the effectiveness of most fertilizers. 

Cut down on watering time and increase your trees survival and growth rates. Hydretain is a win-win for you and your trees!


Order Hydretain here: